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Our Projects

Below you will find the projects that we at the Unanderra Community Centre are involved with at this time.

ScreenShot362 (59K) Residents fear the pledge of millions of dollars for a new rail station at Flinders represents the last nail in the coffin for promised upgrades at Unanderra station.

Flinders, Shell Cove and Shellharbour residents will get better rail access after the completion of a new $39 million station, which was announced last week.

Unanderra quadriplegic Richard Kramer suspected a large part of that money came from the $11.4 million pledged by the former Labor government to install lifts at Unanderra railway station.

Mr Kramer accused the Government of ‘‘political pork barrelling’’ and said he felt ‘‘totally gutted’’ when he heard Flinders would be getting a new station.

‘Finally after all these years we’d had a win. We knew [the upgrades would] happen in the next couple of years, then they go ‘nope, we’re taking the money away’, he said.

He described the situation at the station, where commuters must climb steep stairs to reach platforms, as a ‘‘nightmare’’.

‘‘They don’t have to spend $11 million to make me happy - just make it accessible,’’ he said.

Kiama MP Gareth Ward denied money had been diverted to the Flinders project and said funding for upgrades came from ‘‘a different fund entirely’’ within the state budget.

‘‘The fund for maintenance and upgrades is different for the fund set aside for new stations,’’ Mr Ward said.

He questioned whether Labor’s plans to install lifts at Unanderra were anything more than an election promise.

‘‘Can you show me a budget where it was committed? Because I can’t find it,’’ he said.

Wollongong MP Noreen Hay said funding for accessibility upgrades was ‘‘definitely’’ included in the 2009 budget.

‘‘Gareth Ward should be fighting for funding from the Liberal transport minister for our area - not making excuses for why local projects aren’t being funded,’’ she said.

She accused the Coalition of ‘‘sitting on their hands’’ when it came to station upgrades.

‘‘We’re missing out in the Illawarra because Barry O’Farrell doesn’t want to fund projects in our region,’’ Ms Hay said.

Mt Kembla resident Beverley Berenyi said the stairs were ‘‘a damn nuisance’’ and she avoided the station unless it was absolutely necessary.

‘‘When someone says they are going to Unanderra [station], I think ‘oh no’,’’ she added.

Unanderra Community Centre manager Sandra Luschwitz said the Flinders announcement had left her ‘‘really deflated and really concerned’’.

‘‘I’m more than disappointed and I know that the community will be now wondering: where does that leave Unanderra?’’ Ms Luschwitz commented.

While government officials at a recent transport forum had reassured her accessibility concerns at the station would not be forgotten, Mrs Luschwitz believed they were underestimating the danger to elderly, disabled and less mobile commuters.

‘‘Do we need someone to fall down the stairs, and for there to be a fatality - is that the only way we’re going to get someone to actually look at access at Unanderra station?’’ she said.

A spokeswoman for the state transport department would not say if funds earmarked for Unanderra had been diverted to a new station at Flinders.

She did not respond to specific questions about plans for accessibility upgrades at Unanderra.

The spokeswoman said funding had been provided for upgrades at Dapto, Albion Park, Wollongong and Gerringong stations.

‘‘Subsequent allocations will be based on criteria like current and future patronage, the needs and demographics of customers ... whether important services such as hospitals or educational facilities are nearby, and the accessibility of other nearby transport interchanges and facilities,’’ she said.

Quoted from the "Illawarra Mercury" - April 26, 2012.